held for a moment on its way somewhere –
Its movement arrested, it seems
comfortable (and what is comfort anyway, but
the false security
that nothing will change?)
It’s stalled, or maybe
in this in-between place.
Not my idea of home.
But still, it settles in
until the next shift
nudges it along.
1. The next breeze might blow this seed onto the ground – or maybe not. Hollywood Heights, Los Angeles, California.
2. A Ginkgo leaf is temporarily trapped in the clutches of pine needles. Lu Shan Garden, Portland, Oregon.
3. On a quiet residential street, a spring blossom has fallen into a bed of leaves. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The word “caught” can indicate a number of different states of being – caught in a maelstrom, caught lying, caught a break. These particular images came together because one day when I was out with my camera I noticed a leaf caught on a twig, suspended in mid-fall. Soon I began to see this phenomenon of things caught on other things frequently. I photographed leaves and other bits of flotsam caught on fences, speared by twigs, and resting on bigger leaves. There’s something poignant about these suspended moments, something that speaks to the ultimately temporary nature of all things, the “just-passing-through” sense of life that we humans find hard to accept.
I started adding the keyword “caught” to photographs in Lightroom so I could gather them together. Here’s a selection that spans eleven years and two continents.
4. It was a poignant sight – dozens of little dead moths, covered with dew and caught on branches along a trail on a cold October morning. Baker River Trail, Concrete, Washington.
5. A feather caught on a blackberry branch. Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Duvall, Washington.
6. Fluff from Cottonwood tree seeds is caught in a corner of a roadside parking lot. Near Edison, Washington.
7. Even in January, the fallen leaves of Bigleaf maples trees remain snagged in branches high above the ground. O.O. Denny Park, Kirkland, Washington.
8. This lichen-covered twig fell right into the “arms” of a Madrone tree and stayed there. Sharpe Park, Fidalgo Island, Washington.
9. A length of cloth was tied to a rusty barbed wire fence, and then came the wind. Duvall, Washington.
10. Strands of Bullwhip kelp and rocks, caught by the tides. Deception Pass State Park and Marrowstone Island, Washington.
11. A length of plastic, whipped and wound by the wind on a cold day. Somewhere in upstate New York.
12. A tangle of tiny, curly leaves held by a depression in a wavy Hosta leaf. Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, Washington.
13. Bigleaf maples, with their deeply indented lobes, are always getting caught on branches and fences. Duvall, Washington.
14. Fireweed seeds caught in a spider web. Juanita Bay, Kirkland, Washington.
15. This barbed wire fence has been catching hanks of sheep wool – do they rub up against it or are they just passing by? Klein Reken, Germany.
16. High tides and winds wrap strands of eel grass around the branches of trees that grow close to the water. Deception Pass State Park, Washington.
17. Leaves scrunched in the cracked mud of a dry creek bed. Somewhere in southeastern Arizona.
18. Funny catches: A bark snag clutches a wad of Redwood twigs…and a barbed wire fence is decorated with an aged banana peel. The spider web hasn’t snagged anything but dew. Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California and Fidalgo island, Washington.
19. Leaves from a Japanese maple tree fell into this Japanese lantern. Lu Shan Garden, Portland, Oregon.
20. The viscid caps of these mushrooms capture tiny treasures – Douglas fir needles, bits of leaves, a blade of grass and a tiny Redcedar cone. Deception Pass State Park, Washington.
21. A Bigleaf maple leaf hung up on a barbed wire fence. Snoqualmie Valley, Washington.
22. A wild Rhododendron blossom stopped by a Salal leaf. It will probably disintegrate right here, with the help of gentle spring rains. Deception Pass State Park, Washington.
23. Nature never ceases to amaze. This skeletonized leaf must have been caught on the tip of the horsetail plant when it was just beginning to grow. Mercer Slough, Bellevue, Washington.
24. A beautiful tropical leaf with an artful sprinkling of pollen. Hortus Botanicus, Leiden, Netherlands.
25. A year and a week later I observed the same phenomenon closer to home. Tree pollen was abundant, coating this Salal leaf. I wonder why the tiny pollen grains stayed in the veins – maybe because a day of heavy fog was followed by a still, dry day. The moisture from the fog may have coalesced, carrying the pollen grains into the veins of the leaf, where the grains settled and formed the pattern you see. (This is called making it up as you go along!) Mt. Erie, Fidalgo Island, Washington.
26. Where would we be if bees didn’t catch pollen? This one carries a load of precious Trillium pollen. Somewhere in King County, Washington.
27. The shredded leaf of this tropical plant is caught between the stems, looking like it might get up and dance if the right music is played. Fort Myers, Florida.
28. And more.
29. Snow often does brief balancing acts when it piles up precariously on twigs and branches. Kirkland, Washington.
30. A leaf is caught on my windshield on a rainy December evening. Kirkland, Washington.